Be an entrepreneur of language!

Learning English does not have to be donkey work anymore

January 10, 2022 11:55 am | Updated 11:57 am IST

What is the difference in meaning between ‘any more’ and ‘anymore’? (R Jagdeep, Mysore)

Till the early twentieth century, these two words were spelt the same – as two words. This continues to be true in British English even today. It is mostly the Americans who spell the word differently depending on the function. When spelt as one word, ‘anymore’ means ‘no longer’; it is usually used to refer to time. For example, when you say, ‘The doctor has ordered me not to eat sweets anymore’ , what you mean is that the doctor has asked you to stop eating sweets; not just for now, but for the rest of your life. You are no longer allowed to eat sweets. Similarly, when you say, ‘I won’t lend you books anymore’ , you are telling the person that he can no longer borrow books from you. You will no longer lend him books. ‘Anymore’ usually occurs at the end of a sentence. While ‘anymore’ is used to refer to time, ‘any more’ is mostly used to refer to quantity. When you say, ‘ I can’t eat any more gulab jamuns’ , what you are implying is that you cannot eat another gulab jamun; you have had enough for now. You may have some more, later on. ‘Any more’ usually occurs in the middle of a sentence.

I don’t want to do any more interviews this morning.

Do you have any more gulab jamuns in the fridge?

Janani doesn’t eat gulab jamuns anymore.

How is the word ‘entrepreneur’ pronounced? (C Vineet, Chennai)

The first syllable is pronounced like the word ‘on’, and the ‘e’ in the second and third syllable sounds like the ‘a’ in ‘china’. The final ‘eur’ sounds like the ‘er’ in ‘herd’ and ‘nerd’. The word is pronounced ‘on-tre-pre-NER’ with the stress on the final syllable. The word was borrowed from French, and when it was first used in English, it meant ‘to undertake’. Nowadays, the term is mostly used to refer to people who are willing to start something new – despite the financial risks involved. Many people who do not wish to work for others, start their own company; such people who are willing to start something new, and invest their own money in the business are usually referred to as entrepreneurs. Bill Gates is an entrepreneur.

Ever since she was a kid, Sailaja wanted to be an entrepreneur.

The young entrepreneur had no real social life.

Is it okay to say, “Why do I have to do all the donkey’s work?” (S Chethan, Chennai)

The expression is frequently heard in India; native speakers of English, however, would say ‘donkey work’ and not ‘donkey’s work’. It is frequently used in British English in informal contexts. When you say that you do not enjoy doing the donkey work, what you are implying is that you do not like doing the boring part of any job. You find it laborious and rather monotonous – but it is something which needs to be done.

The professor got two of his students to do all the donkey work.

Why is it that I always end up doing the donkey work?

“Life is like the stock market. Some days you’re up. Some days you’re down. And some days you feel like something the bull left behind.”

Paula Wall

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